The National Guard Bureau
The National Guard Bureau (NGB), a joint activity of the Department of Defense, administers policies and oversees federal funding for the National Guards of the states, territories and District of Columbia that affect the federal mission of National Guard, and acts as the official conduit between the states and the Departments of the Army and Air Force. The NGB is headed by a Chief, who is a four star general, and a member of either the Army or Air National Guard.
The NGB performs the federal functions of the Army National Guard (ARNG) and the Air National Guard (ANG). The ARNG and the ANG are led by directors with the rank of lieutenant general. The two directors are selected by the Secretary of the Army (for the Director of the Army National Guard) and the Secretary of the Air Force (for the Director of the Air National Guard). Both directors report to the Chief of the NGB. In addition, there is a Director of the NGB Joint Staff, of the opposite service of the Chief, with the rank of major general. Full-time staffs support the Chief of the NGB, the director of the NGB Joint Staff, and the directors of the ARNG and the ANG.
The Army National Guard Directorate is the ARNG element of NGB, and functions both as part of the Army Staff and as a resource manager to ensure the readiness of the Army National Guards of the states and territories.
The Army National Guard of the Several States and Territories
There are 54 Army National Guards organized in the 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Territories of Guam and the Virgin Islands, and in the District of Columbia. As a dual mission force, the Army National Guard is normally under the control of its state or territorial Governor, but can be called into federal service by the President. Each state governor serves as the commander in chief of their National Guard, while their Adjutants General are responsible for training and readiness during peacetime. At the state level, the governors reserve the ability under the constitution to call up members of the Army National Guard during domestic emergencies. The President serves as commander-in-chief of units mobilized for federal service, and of the District of Columbia National Guard during peacetime as well.
Major Army National Guard Units
The ARNG is organized as an operational force that is fully capable of accomplishing state, national, and international missions during war and peace. To meet these requirements, the ARNG maintains a balanced mix of combat, combat support, and combat service support units. These units are structured to integrate seamlessly with active component units as needed, and are located in nearly 3,000 communities throughout the United States, which enables them to respond rapidly to domestic emergencies.
Major ARNG command and control elements include the Army National Guard elements of 54 state and territory Joint Force Headquarters, as well as six infantry division headquarters. Major units include over 100 brigades, including 28 Brigade Combat Teams. The ARNG force structure continues evolving to best support the National Military Strategy (NMS). Ongoing ARNG initiatives will ensure the best mix of forces available to accomplish missions directed by the NMS, while also ensuring that the ARNG is ready to answer the call for state missions.